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Gleick reprised and reinstated

It did not fit easily into my previous post but another example of a person afflicted by “… a desire to maintain the delusion that the world would heed your message if only it were allowed to hear it” is Peter Gleick, who despite having his own blog at Forbes Magazine and turning down star billing to debate his opponents at the Heartland Institute face to face persisted in his belief that they were managing to “prevent this debate”.

Incidentally, the Undebated One has been reinstated at the Pacific Institute, I see from a report in the Guardian. You will rejoice to hear that

The Pacific Institute indicated in the statement that it had found no evidence for Heartland’s charges that Gleick had forged one of several documents he released last February.

To my suprise Suzanne Goldenberg, the author of the report who until now has appeared besotted with Gleick now sounds almost like one of those cynical reporters one used to read about:

But the Institute offered no further information on the findings of the investigation, or any evidence to support the claim of having conducted a fully independent investigation. It gave no further explanation for its decision to reject Heartland’s charges that Gleick had faked a document.

Ms Goldenberg then continued to veer from side to side in the article. After Old Suzanne wrote about a Heartland plan to “spread misinformation in schools about climate change” (making no reference to the fact that the most damaging quotes on that score came from a document that she has hinted a minute ago was fake), New Suzanne lets slip, I think deliberately, that:

… when Heartland promoted the climate conference by taking out a billboard comparing believers in climate change to psychopaths like the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, a run in donors, which had been relatively modest immediately after Gleick’s exposé, spiked dramatically. Two board members resigned, almost all of those based in its Washington DC office quit, and a number of Heartland allies publicly chided the organisation

The words in bold represent a change. Until recently the Guardian line was that Gleick’s exposé had been, shall we say, misguided, but had struck a mighty blow against Heartland.

I do not think I quite qualify as an ally, but I was and am a strong supporter of the Institute in its efforts to get the truth out of Gleick, and was also one of the chiders after the Unabomber poster came out, though as you will see if you read that post and its comments many here disagree. My impression is that Ms Goldenberg and others with similar views turned with relief from defending Gleick to talking about the Kaczynski poster. Without a confession or an adverse verdict in a court of law they will never admit that Gleick lied. However I suspect the penny has dropped that their public credulity regarding an obviously fishy story, and the public excuses they made for Gleick’s admitted dishonest tactics, let alone his unadmitted ones, sent the message to the public that they may also be credulous and tolerant of dishonesty when it comes to climate science.

6 comments to Gleick reprised and reinstated

  • Slartibartfarst

    “…they may also be credulous and tolerant of dishonesty when it comes to climate science.”

    How strange, and there I thought they seemed to be just out-and-out liars pushing a religio-political ideology over all their reporting. Perhaps I was mistaken.

  • Gareth

    Perhaps I am reading too much into the statement but I don’t think Suzanne Goldberg is on solid ground suggesting

    The Pacific Institute indicated in the statement that it had found no evidence for Heartland’s charges that Gleick had forged one of several documents he released last February.

    The statement from the Pacific Institute is silent on the matter of the allegedly fake strategy document. According to Gleick the document Heartland says is fake was sent to him physically and the content of it so explosive he then perpetrated his conning of Heartland to find supporting evidence for it.

    The statement is precise. It says the independent review “…. has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute.”

    Regardless of whether the contentious document was sent to Gleick as he claims or concocted after he conned the other documents out of Heartland it isn’t part of Gleick’s interactions with them. The statement does not identify the origin of the contentious document. It doesn’t even confirm Gleick’s claim as to how he came by that document.

  • I’m not aware that Heartland has claimed that Dr Gleick forged the relevant document anyway. To the best of my knowledge that have merely claimed the document is false, without directly accusing any one. Regardless, Dr Gleick has admitted identify theft in order to fraudulently obtain documents.

  • Very interesting, Gareth and Dom. In the earlier kerfuffle I was against reading too much into exact forms of words. I wrote,

    “It was claimed by different groups that (depending on allegiance) either Gleick’s admission or Joe Bast’s statement saying the strategy memo was a fake were subtly worded by sneaky legal brains so as to allow for them to conceal guilt without literally lying. I was unconvinced by either argument. Outside the more childish law dramas this just gets you laughed at. Look at the scorn heaped on Gordon Brown’s attempt to claim that he had actually said, “no more Tory boom and bust”. As if that would improve his credibility! I do not believe this sort of quibbling succeeds in law either – people sometimes do get off on technicalities but not that sort of technicality.

    BUT .. that was bloggers who weren’t lawyers talking about what lawyers might do. Jim Lindgren, the writer quoted in the Volokh Conspiracy, is a professor of law. So when he says something is legal weaselling I am inclined to take notice.

    There is also the change of tack by Suzanne Goldenberg, which I do not think I am imagining. If I recall correctly she was one of those originally sent the package by Gleick and is more than just an observer to this affair. Also the NYT journalist Andrew Revkin, quoted in the Volokh post, seems to have noticed the same thing. He was mentioned in the disputed document as being a more neutral voice Heartland might want to cultivate. Assuming as I do that the document was actually written by Gleick, I suppose it’s not so surprising that Revkin – definitely a believer in CAGW but not as strongly so as Gleick would like – is not best pleased with Gleick for, as he would see it, sliming him.

    Countingcats, again if I recall correctly, Heartland did accuse Gleick by name of fakery and then drew back with a statement that had LEGAL ADVICE stamped all over it in imaginary but easily visible letters. I can’t check this one because it seems to have disappeared. Later still, Heartland got an outside company who specialise in providing expert testimony on authorship to examine the document. They said Gleick wrote it and thus bolstered Heartland have now directly accused him.

    Here is a link to the HI’s “fakegate.org” website dealing with that: (Link)

  • I’ve just noticed that my last post might have come across as being dismissive of your comment, Gareth, because you are “only” a blogger and not a lawyer, or at least if you are you haven’t said so. That was not my intention – I thought as soon as I saw it that it was very sharply observed indeed.